The following appears on floor 90, as part of the “Crisis of the Ancient World” exhibit. Many of the pieces on display here were discovered, studied, and collected by the Ari Horzel expeditions and donated by the Horzel family on the event of the professor’s death. We have held these objects for approximately 3000 years and happily display Professor Horzel’s research and conclusions with amendments as new research into the period is completed and verified.
“Our world has never been in such peril.”
“In the Bronze Age, we faced destruction from overreliance on single points of empire: charioteers, trust in the concept of holding war as if a game, a lack of statecraft or cooperation outside immediate and economic. Later, mankind formed its tribes around religions to the detriment of its people; rules by secrecy and decadence, not permitted to speak out for fear of one’s soul, and even one’s body. And lately, we built our society around mechanization and exploitation. An all too recent history of slavery and disenfranchisement of almost all people not of imperial European stock, and even some thereof. Much of human thought controlled through simple media, a lack of free thought bred through easy to digest bites and manipulated group opinion. A world beset by the accelerating climate shift we ourselves brought on by inefficient agriculture techniques and a slobbering dedication to petroleum. And the growing anti-intellectual movement wherein people of education and knowledge are set aside for fabulists and merrymakers without a strand of brain between them, so that populists may once again, as in the waning days of the Roman republic, make of us what they will to obtain status and power most true.”
“We have wrought the tools of our destruction; and I need not even mention atomic weapons or the culture of proxy warfare that has propagated in the world these last hundred years to illustrate the magnitude of the issues facing the modern human being.”
Our Museum strives to bring all corners of human civilization to the forum and integrate them into our collective understanding of history and the universe. This includes some of the more pessimistic outlooks at history as it unfolded.
Towards the end of the Information Age, many people, particularly the young and disillusioned of more developed nations of the time, saw the world in a spiraling decline similar to collapse events of their past. In the twenty-first century, this was often derided as being fatalistic and childish. However, as the century came to an end, and humanity’s fossil fuels, quite literally, dried up, this view was taken more seriously.
Humanity is always in decline for one reason or another. But it’s also experiencing a new renaissance after every fall. Our species picks itself up despite our best efforts to destroy ourselves from the inside.
In the following century, as nations fell from over reliance on coal and oil, and other nations rose and took their place on the world stage by sharing cheaper, cleaner energy, this view fell out of the public ideal except as a page in every secondary school general history book.
Then it happened about once every thousand years or so. But each time, the collapse was less pronounced, less apocalyptic, and more just a routine “changing of the guards” in world supremacy, technological ideology, or wide spectrum human thought.
Today, we at the Roberts Foundation and the Smith Museum seek to mitigate our current crisis, that of overextended humanity, and keep the lights on, so to speak, for when the Earth’s children come home. We will be right here, guarding their ancient legacy, remembering their past so they might rediscover it. Someday.